Colombia: May 17, 2004


The May 9th capture of 88 Colombians by Venezuelan troops inside Venezuela has turned into quite a scandal. Colombian and Venezuelan investigators have found that the captured Colombians were members of the AUC (about 40 escaped the raid and are still at large). Colombian investigators have uncovered a link between the captured men and senior Colombian police officials. The AUC have long had cozy relations with the Colombian police and army and the AUC, based on all three organizations being dedicated to fighting leftist rebels from FARC and ELN. The AUC was apparently hired by opposition groups in Venezuela to provide the muscle for a coup against the elected, but very unpopular, president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Within Venezuela, many people feel Chavez is trying to set up a leftist dictatorship, with the help of communist dictator Fidel Castro of Cuba. Chavez has been bringing in thousands of Cubans to help him maintain himself in power. So far, a total of 120 Colombians have been arrested, and several Venezuelan army officers.


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